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Sharia News Watch 49

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  • Enzo Picardie
    Sharia News Watch 49 : a collection news quotes on Sharia, for research & educational purposes only. [*] all editions:
    Message 1 of 1 , May 2 1:07 PM
      Sharia News Watch 49 : a collection news quotes on Sharia, for
      research & educational purposes only. [*]
      all editions: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shariawatch/
      Subscribe: shariawatch-subscribe@yahoogroups.com


      Afghanistan Celebrates 11th anniversary of Islamic Revolution
      http://www.afgha.com/?af=article&sid=32706 - 28 Apr 03
      a ceremony to honor the 11th anniversary of Mujahideen's victory
      Dr.Najib Ullah's regime was held in Kabul today (Monday).


      How Jihad Made Its Way to Chechnya - 26 Apr 03
      This isolated southwest Russian village of dirt roads and one-story
      clay brick houses was profoundly peaceful, its residents say, until a
      Jordanian cleric named Khabib Abdurrakhman arrived in the early 1990s
      with a seemingly irresistible deal.

      To a hamlet made destitute by the collapse of the Soviet Union,
      Abdurrakhman brought a slaughtered cow and a free feast every week. In
      a place where many people were left jobless by the demise of the local
      collective farm, he handed out $30 to every convert who came to his
      simple mosque. And to those adrift in the social chaos of the Soviet
      breakdown, he offered a new purpose in life -- a form of their
      traditional Islam rooted in fundamentalism and militancy.
      By 1999, Abdurrakhman's growing band of followers had transformed the
      little settlement into an armed enclave, crisscrossed by tunnels and
      trenches and stockpiled with weapons for Abdurrakhman's true mission:
      severing Dagestan from Russian control and merging it into an Islamic
      state with neighboring Chechnya.
      Col. Ilya Shabalkin, a spokesman for Russian forces in Chechnya, said
      Arabs still make up about one-fifth of Chechnya's roughly 1,000 active
      armed militants, who are increasingly confined to the republic's
      forests and mountains. "The Arabs are the specialists, they are the
      experts in mines and communications," Shabalkin said. He identified
      their leader as Abu Walid, a Saudi who showed up in Chechnya in the
      late 1990s.

      The money, Russians say, comes from known terrorist groups such as al
      Qaeda and from some 40 organizations masquerading as charities in the
      Middle East, Europe and elsewhere. The flow of funds has diminished
      since U.S. and Russian intelligence began jointly clamping down on
      terrorist financing after the Sept. 11 attacks. Even so, the Russians
      say, $500,000 to $1 million a month still reaches Chechnya, delivered
      in small sums by couriers who travel Georgia's rugged mountain paths.

      One source is a Saudi charity, al Haramain, according to Russia's
      Federal Security Service. In an internal memo provided by the agency,
      the FSB accused the charity of wiring $1 million to Chechen rebels in
      1999 and of arranging to buy 500 heavy weapons for them from Taliban

      Al Haramain says it distributed blankets, clothing and food in
      Chechnya but stopped its work there 14 months ago. "We do not have any
      relationship with any terrorist activities," said Shaykh Aqeel Aqeel,
      the charity's director. "We work under the supervision of the Saudi
      The Arabs' goal went beyond preserving Chechnya's freedom: They wanted
      to merge Chechnya and Dagestan to create an Islamic state. Chechnya
      and Dagestan were poorer than the rest of Russia, and Dagestan, though
      home to a mosaic of ethnic groups, was predominantly Muslim. Its
      access to the Caspian Sea and its oil and gas reserves gave it a
      strategic importance to Russia that Chechnya did not share.
      In March 2002, the Saudi and American governments shut down Haramain's
      branches in Bosnia and Somalia, which they suspected of funneling
      money to extremists under cover of supporting Islamic schools and
      orphanages. At the time, United States officials cited the closures as
      evidence of improved cooperation with Saudi Arabia on fighting
      terrorism. But newspapers in Saudi Arabia later reported that the
      group continued to operate in Bosnia.


      Divorce doubles in Fujairah - 28 Apr 03
      The Sharia Court has recorded an almost 100 per cent increase in the
      number of divorces, and the Public Prosecution saw a 36 per cent rise
      in penal cases.

      A Sharia Court source said 142 couples were divorced in 2002 compared
      to 73 in 2001. "The increase in divorces among UAE nationals and
      expatriates is alarming. It also reflects the lack of social awareness
      programmes arranged by social centres."


      First Sharia Advisory Office in the Offing - 28 Apr 03
      What could be a trial start to a new sharia advisory office is in the
      offing in The Gambia aimed at giving guidance to members of the public
      on issues, revolving around Islamic precepts of daily living and

      It will be the first such enterprise in the country with a drive to
      give advise on marriages, divorce, family life, inheritance and
      demystify the overarching concept of sharia for the multitude of
      people whose understanding of it may be shallow. It initiators, who
      said it was resulting from their protracted study and analysis of the
      situation, believe that such an office is of overriding necessity
      against a backdrop of ignorance of Islamic precepts, that inherently
      prevents individuals from making informed decisions on issues that
      affect them from the Islamic perspective.
      Leon H. Sullivan Summit

      The office already established in Serrekunda London will also be
      engaged in legal translation from Arabic to English and vice versa and
      will also be available for land valuation.
      Mohammed Lamin Jaiteh and Mohammed Jaiteh (Hamma) explained that over
      the past ten years they have observed that a number of cases have
      reached the Cadi's court that should have been laid to rest by an
      advisory office, rendering it unnecessary for them to be heard by the
      Islamic courts.

      "Some complaints that go to the courts the Islamic courts need not go
      there if the parties involved are given expert advise over the wisdom
      or otherwise of doing so.
      The Jaiteh brothers expounded on the burden unleashed on the Islamic
      court in the Gambia as a result of profound ignorance of sharia, a
      concept, which has been overridden by misinterpretations relating to
      the dreaded amputation as retribution meted out against moral

      "Sharia is all-encompassing, it entails the whole behaviour of Muslims
      in an Islamic environment and not only about amputation as widely and
      erroneously held" they argued, pointing out that their drive is to
      plumb the depth of such a concept and lay it bare for the simple
      understanding of those who may be initially prone to misrepresent it
      to their own detriment.


      National Mosque Complex Gobbles ¢ 800m So Far - 24 Apr 03
      The Islamic community in Accra was robbed of its historic mosque when
      in the heady days of the 1979 mutiny, the military junta decided to
      demolish it ostensibly flush out 'economic saboteurs' who they claimed
      were operating in the building.
      The National Mosque Complex was originally to cost $2m [EUR 200.000,-]
      when it was started about three years ago.
      The delay in the completion of the project has been a subject of
      gossip among many members of the Islamic faith who question why
      Muslims in the country are unable to com up with enough resources on
      their own to execute such projects.

      With the re-stated commitment by the Saudi envoy however it is hoped
      that his government would make good its promise of assisting in the
      completion of the project. For now the main central mosque in the city
      of Accra remains the Abossey Okai Mosque whose patronage is not as
      encouraging as it was for the demolished one. When the Kawokudi
      National Complex is completed it would certainly enhance the image of
      Islam in Ghana.


      Wife's pregnancy not reason for making marriage void: SC
      In a significant ruling, the Supreme Court has held that a marriage
      under the Muslim law cannot be held invalid or void because of the
      allegation by the husband that the wife was pregnant at the time of

      [Andhra Pradesh] Madrassas form board in Andhra Pradesh - 26 Apr 03
      The managements of madrassas or Islamic seminaries in Andhra Pradesh
      have formed a Madarssa Board to counter what they say is a slander
      campaign by rightwing Hindu groups. Heads of about 200 madrassas will
      meet here Saturday to chalk out a course of action to counter those
      branding them as running training schools for terrorists. The first
      convention of the board will discuss ways to bring about coordination
      among managements of madrassas and streamline their administration.
      Moulana Auqil said the madrassas taught those who were poor and mainly
      from rural areas. The schools provided them free boarding, lodging and
      education. He recalled that madrassas had played a great role in the
      struggle for India's independence.
      Rahim Qureshi, a legal advisor of the board and secretary of All India
      Muslim Personal Law Board, said the seminaries met most of their
      funding from charities and other voluntary donations.

      He also questioned plans for the so-called modernization of madrassas.
      He said the seminaries could not be directed to teach a particular
      subject. .. He, however, pointed out that many madrassas had
      introduced subjects like English, mathematics and computer sciences.

      [Bengal] Double hurdle to airport land claim - 24 Apr 03
      The final word on the shifting of the masjid-mazhar-graveyard outside
      the airport may already have been uttered by the Supreme Court which,
      at least on two separate occasions, has ruled that it is well nigh
      impossible to change the character of land once used as a graveyard.

      Experts on Muslim law - already sounded by the West Bengal
      Commission - have cited the two instances which, officials feel, may
      be the biggest roadblock yet to the Airports Authority of India's
      plans to shift the mosque complex outside the airport boundary.
      Another speedbreaker has appeared from the direction of the state
      administration, which has - in an official communique - categorically
      said there is "at present, no proposal" to shift any of the
      structures outside the airport boundary.

      Taken together, they "appear to set back" AAI plans to do
      away with
      the Mathpara Burra Masjid for the construction of a cargo-handling
      unit, admit officials.
      "Two Supreme Court rulings — one delivered in 1976 and the
      other in
      1998 — on graveyards and wakf properties make it abundantly clear
      changing the character of a plot of land once used as a graveyard is
      next to impossible," one of the experts sounded by the commission
      said. "The absence or presence of documents to prove whether the
      was really a graveyard is of no relevance," he added.
      The 1998 case (Syed Ali versus Andhra Pradesh Wakf Board), arbitrated
      by Justice A.S. Anand and Justice V.N. Khare, ruled that a wakf
      property was a "permanent dedication of property for purposes
      by Muslim law".


      Many Indonesians turn to shamans despite discouragement - 29 Apr 03
      No diagnosis is too strange for Indonesia's shamans — known here
      dukun and who attract millions of patients despite increased awareness
      of modern medical treatment. Their work sits uneasily with religious
      authorities in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation.
      Since the 1960s, Muslim clerics have been struggling to popularize a
      form of Islam that is free of the mysticism and magic that laces much
      of Indonesian culture.
      Diagnostic methods and treatments vary, but most shamans draw on Hindu
      and Muslim beliefs and a large dollop of theatrics.
      The Islamic establishment, which forbids flirtation with superstition
      or practices from older religions, is alarmed at the continuing
      popularity of shamans.

      Ex-Indonesian leader defends controversial singer - 29 Apr 03
      Former president Abdurrahman Wahid has come to the defence of hugely
      popular Indonesian singer Inul Daratista, whose dance style has been
      condemned as erotic by several Muslim leaders.

      Wahid was answering criticism from Islamic preacher and rock star
      Rhoma Irama, who has branded Inul's dance style as "haram" or
      forbidden by the religion. Wahid -- himself a Muslim cleric -- said
      Irama was obstructing freedom of expression in the name of religion,
      Tuesday's Media Indonesia daily reported.

      Islamic authorities in several provinces have banned Inul from
      performing. But Wahid said Inul's dance was part of her artistic
      expression and was not illegal.


      Iraq's wannabes to meet today - 28 Apr 03
      While the IDP [Islamic Dawa Party] wants Iraq to be governed under
      Islamic or Sharia law, it does not want to model itself after the
      fundamentalist Islamic government in Iran, Alanzi said. He cannot
      explain why the coalition forces have not invited the IDP to today's
      meeting, especially since the party has broad support among the Iraqis
      and has offices in 23 cities and towns.

      Iraqi Shiites leaving Iran to study at home - 27 April 03
      Grand Ayatollah Kadhem al-Husseini al-Haeri, has issued a fatwa, or
      religious edict, calling on Shiites to "seize the first possible
      opportunity to fill the power vacuum in the future administration of
      Iraq and play their role in reconstructing their country."

      But the younger [brother] al-Haeri said the exodus of clerics to Iraq
      should not be seen as a campaign by Shiite clerics to seize power and
      run Iraq with a religious government.

      Free of Hussein's Rule, Sunnis in North Flaunt A Long-Hidden Piety
      .. - 23 Apr 03
      A political party has resurfaced calling for the establishment of
      Islamic rule through the electoral process. But after decades of
      dictatorial rule, there is also public sentiment that could diminish
      the appeal of fundamentalism. There appears to be widespread distrust,
      expressed by Mr. Ahmed and others, of any political party that would
      try to dictate to people how to live, work or worship.

      The group is the Iraqi Islamic Party, a Sunni Muslim organization that
      was recently re-established after being banned for decades. A few
      miles from Mr. Ahmed's neighborhood mosque, workers at the party's
      main office are churning out pamphlets calling for the establishment
      of Islamic law by peaceful means. The group's program opposes the use
      of violence and supports multiparty democracy, but wants an Islamic
      government formed in Iraq. "Islam is a way of life," said Idris
      al-Haj Dawood, a party leader. "Organizing this life will only be a
      law taken from Islam."
      In Mosul, where fuel is in short supply and power and running water
      are gradually being restored after a 10-day absence, the party's
      office is an island of efficiency. The group has taken over the former
      offices of the Iraqi Olympic Committee, a symbol of the old government
      that was run by Mr. Hussein's son, Uday.
      Dr. Dawood said the party was established in 1960 but banned in 1961
      by Iraq's military ruler at the time. Many of its members fled, but
      Dr. Dawood, a bearded 68-year-old physician, remained in the country
      and continued to work underground in Mosul, he said. For years, Mr.
      Hussein's state security apparatus tried to crush the spread of
      fundamentalism in and around Mosul. The city became known as a center
      of Wahhabism, a strict form of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia.

      We Will Join U.S.-Installed Government: Scholar - 26 Apr 03
      Take to the streets to make the Americans hear your voice and know
      your weight, the head of the society of Iraqi scholars, Dr. Ahmad
      al-Kubaizi, addressed a throng of Imams and scholars, who huddled
      together in an auditorium at the society's headquarters.

      Asked about the new Islamic drive in Iraq in view of the country's
      religious mosaic, Kubaizi said the Iraqi people, who had fallen down
      under decades of unspeakable and unprecedented intimidation, are in a
      dire need to have a "respite," in politics terms they need a
      transitional period to help them get rid of "the Saddamite terror."

      "A judge can not reckon on the testimony of the hungry or the
      terrified. The Iraqis lived more than 35 years under unprecedented
      intimidation and they come up now to face the stark reality of the
      earth's most oppressive occupation," he said.
      Kubaizi noted that the Iraqi National Movement (INM) party - set up by
      the society - is not grounded on an Islamic basis but aimed at
      rebuilding a new Iraq. "It is a separate party for all Iraqis, whether
      Muslims, Christians, Jews or Kurds, and it will take me some 20 years
      from now to be asked about the Islamic drive in post-Saddam Iraq," he
      said. "The party does not adopt an Islamic or un-Islamic ideology,
      but it aspires to establish a civilian and just Iraq."
      Asked if this new tendency runs counter to earlier fatwa (religious
      edict) that whosoever cooperates with the Americans is an apostate, he
      said this is only applied to wartime.

      "But now as there is no government (in Iraq) and there must be no
      fighting as well. There is much difference between Muslims who fight
      off invading troops and those who are stateless and are under
      occupation. We are now dealing with occupying troops as the Germans
      did with the Americans and the Palestinians are with the Israelis,"
      Kubaizi argued.

      "If Saddam emerged, we would then rally behind him and fight off the
      occupation but now there is no Hawza (religious authority). We will
      follow the U.S.-installed government but we will also topple it if it
      proved un-Islamic," he added.

      In complicated post-Saddam landscape, many Iraqi Shiites reject
      Iranian influence - 02 May 03
      Amid the religious and political maneuverings is a sense that,
      although mostly Shiite Iran looms large, it and its model of rule by
      Muslim clerics will not guide Iraq's Shiites toward their future.
      Iraqi suspicion of Iran predates Saddam, though. And at first blush,
      it is continuing after him, defying the expectations of many who
      thought Tehran would be a powerful force. Many interviewed this week
      say they have seen how Iran operates and want something different.
      Laid out along the banks of the Euphrates River, Najaf's significance
      is in its Howza, a center of scientific, literary and theological
      studies. The city of 900,000 is regarded by the world's 120 million
      Shiites as their third-holiest site, behind Mecca and Medina.
      In this power vacuum, Shiite religious leaders are rapidly building up
      support, providing welfare assistance to communities and appointing
      followers to posts of responsibility.
      Religious and secular Shiites alike have challenged U.S.-proposed
      civilian administrations by organizing local committees, doling out
      funds to pay salaries, retrieving looted property and sending militias
      to secure government buildings.
      Ayatollah Ali Hussein al-Sistani, who enjoys the largest following
      here, said he does not want direct political power. Al-Sistani left
      Najaf about 20 days ago, and clerics in his office insist they don't
      know where he's gone.

      Unlike al-Sistani's followers, supporters of the late Ayatollah
      Mohammed Sadiq al-Sadr are more politicized and have beliefs more in
      line with hard-line clerics in Iran. His son, Seyyed Muqtada al-Sadr,
      receives orders from Ayatollah Kazem al-Haeri, who remains in Iran.

      Shi'ite shrines as a counter-force - 26 Apr 03
      Subhi Toma is an Iraqi-born sociologist who has lived in France for
      more than 30 years. He says the political character of Iraq's Shi'ite
      shrines stems from the fact that they have always had a much
      better-developed school network than the rest of former Ottoman-ruled

      In addition, Toma says, Iraq's holy cities enjoyed a number of
      privileges that helped foster resistance to the Sunni-dominated
      governments that exerted power in Baghdad after the demise of the
      Ottoman Empire. "In fact the opposition [of these cities] to central
      authorities was the result of privileges they had been enjoying under
      Ottoman occupation - [notably] the fact that they were not required to
      provide soldiers" for the Ottoman army, Toma said. "These cities were
      exempted from military conscription and, with the emergence of a
      centralized state that wanted to draft every [single male citizen],
      that became an important factor."
      Gareth Stanfield is a research fellow at the British-based University
      of Exeter's Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies. He draws a parallel
      between the early years of modern Iraqi history and recent protests
      that have erupted in Karbala and other southern cities demanding the
      immediate withdrawal of the US-led coalition forces.

      "I think it does tie in quite strongly with the fact that the
      government of Iraq, in the aftermath of the Ottoman Empire, was
      dominated by Sunni elites, British imperialism and ... the Sherifians
      [Hashemites], which did effectively disfranchise the Shi'ite component
      of society," Stanfield said. "In that sort of time, I think, the
      Shi'ite religious establishment was very traditionally minded and they
      opposed British imperialism, I suppose in a quite similar manner as
      what is happening now, insofar as this is an external involvement and
      a non-Muslim involvement into the affairs of the community, which is a
      Muslim community. So really the similarities are quite striking with
      that in mind."

      Al-Qa'ida Affiliated Website ['Al-Nidaa] - 02 May 03
      'Al-Nidaa, a website affiliated with Al-Qa'ida, recently published a
      series of articles about the war in Iraq. The eleventh [1] part of the
      series [http://www.bkufus.com/images/img/?subject=2&rec=1049] dealt
      with the dangers facing Sunni Islamists in the region. The article
      names a few such dangers, and refers to the emerging threat of the
      Shi'a to Sunni Islamists as "greater than the threat posed by the Jews
      and the Christians." The following is a summary of the main points of
      the article:
      "The danger of the Shi'a to the region is no less than that posed by
      the Jews and the Christians. Throughout Islamic history, the Shi'a
      helped the Christians and the polytheists in their battles against
      Muslim countries. The seemingly anti-Jewish and anti-Christian Shi'a
      hatred is nothing but slogans used to export the Khomeini revolution."

      According to the article, the Shi'a in Iran developed a five-step
      plan, each step lasting ten years, to export their revolution to the
      countries of the region. The plan was devised by the "Shura Council of
      the Iranian Cultural Revolution," and the article maintained that
      "whether the plan has been truly hatched by it or not, it does reflect
      the reality."


      Jordan Islamists change tactics - 02 May 03
      The Islamist Action Front (IAF), political arm of the influential
      Muslim Brotherhood, announced last week that it intends to field
      candidates in Jordan's 17 June elections.

      The realisation that boycotting the elections would mean being
      deprived of any clout in the legislative process, or having a platform
      to express their views, prompted Jordan's powerful Islamists to take
      part in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

      The IAF boycotted the last elections, held in 1997, in protest against
      the government's refusal to amend the one-person, one-vote system that
      they saw as a way of diluting their clout at the polls.
      Prior to the one-person, one-vote system, a voter could elect up to
      six MPs in some constituencies which led to a higher number of
      Islamist candidates in the lower house of parliament. However, the new
      system, introduced in 1993, has undermined the Islamists' strength.


      Muslims protest over Kadhi courts - 26 Apr 03
      In Nairobi more than 2,000 Muslims were led in a peaceful protest by
      the Deputy Imam of Jamia Mosque, Sheikh Subki Shee, and the Chairman
      of the Supreme Council for Muslims in Kenya (Supkem) Dr Abdulghafur
      Busaidy. Shee, who addressed the demonstrators, said there was a plot
      to alienate them and turn Kenya into a Christian state.
      The placard-waving protesters convened at Garissa playgrounds shortly
      after the Friday prayers. Sheikh Abdisalam Sheikh, who addressed the
      worshippers, said Muslims may opt for a federal system of government
      (Majimbo) if the Kadhi's courts were withdrawn from the Draft
      Constitution. He said Muslims had enjoyed religious rights since
      independence and would not backtrack on the matter.

      "If need be,we will balkanise the country and declare Sharia Law in
      areas predominantly occupied by Muslims," he announced amid applause
      from charged crowds.

      He said the Government was being influenced by Western evangelists to
      scrap the rights of the Muslims from the proposed Constitution. He
      further said that even the colonial government recognised the Islamic
      faith during the Lancaster Constitutional Conference.


      [Borneo] One God, same name - 25 Apr 03
      I refer to HF and Michelle Lee Su-Lin's letters regarding the use of
      the word "Allah" in the Iban Bible. If it is true that the ban o­n
      Iban Bible is because it had included the word "Allah Taala" to refer
      to God and this may offend the religious sensitivities of the
      Malaysian Muslims, then something is indeed wrong with the minds of
      our political leaders.

      No nation, individual or religious group, let alone those in Malaysia,
      can have the monopoly to say that you are not allowed to use a generic
      Arabic word "Allah" to refer to the word God in English, in any book,
      religious or not. That word belongs to the Arabic language and not the
      Malay language.
      In a decision indigenous Christians in eastern Malaysia have found
      incomprehensible, their government in Kuala Lumpur - which considers
      itself one of Asia's more successful democracies - has banned the
      Bible in their native tongue.
      About 9 percent of Malaysia's 23 million people are Christians, and
      most live in the east of the country. Iban is spoken by more than
      400,000 people, members of a Borneo tribe that was once feared for its
      Among the words that cause concern is "Allah." It's the word Muslims
      use for the deity they worship, but the Arabic word pre-dated Islam
      and is also used by Christian Arabs when referring to God - despite
      the considerable differences in the Judeo-Christian and Islamic
      conceptions of God.

      The Iban translation of the Bible uses the term "Allah Taala" for God,
      while the other banned Christian books, in Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa
      Indonesia, also use "Allah" for God.

      Whipping Permitted Only In Kelantan - 27 Apr 03
      Only syariah courts in Kelantan can impose whipping on offenders
      convicted of adultery and apostasy as the necessary law has yet to be
      passed in other states, said chief syariah judge Ghazali Abdul Rahman,
      who is the Syariah Judiciary Department director-general.

      Don't follow Kelantan, says Rais - 27 Apr 03
      Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim
      said punishment such as whipping of offenders convicted of adultery or
      other Syariah offences might also run contrary to the federal law
      which specified that it could only be meted out to criminal offences
      under the Penal Code.

      He said the Syariah enactment passed in Kelantan was not backed by
      proper implementation procedures. He said the enactment failed to
      specify details such as who was authorised to carry out the punishment
      or how it should be imposed.
      "It is a well-known fact that the lack of uniformity in the
      implementation of the Syariah laws among the States had created a lot
      of problems and this should not be made worst by more enactments which
      do not have proper implementation procedures.

      [Sarawak] Syariah Courts handle 40-60 divorce cases daily - 30 Apr 03
      Divorce cases top the number of cases handled by the nine Syariah
      Courts in Sarawak. State Chief Syarii Judge, Hj Sam Hj Ojeh, said
      yesterday that 40 to 60 divorce cases were heard and mentioned daily
      in the nine Syariah Courts.
      On another development, Sam said Sarawak recorded the lowest backlog
      rate -which was five to seven percent - for Syariah cases in the
      country. He attributed the achievement to the application of
      "E-Syariah" software, which allowed cases to be filed within one day.

      "With this system, we can just sit in front of our computers and refer
      to the files by browsing through the folders in the shared database
      server," he said of the software developed by Sarawak Information
      Systems (SAINS) Sdn Bhd.
      The Syariah Courts in Sarawak handle some 1000 cases every year.
      Sarawak currently has 13 Syarii judges for all the Syariah Courts.
      Sam said all the judges were men, but did not deny the possibility of
      accepting a woman Syarii judge once a qualified one was found.

      [Sarawak] Bill Empowers Magistrate's Court To Order
      Maintenance Payment - 02 May 03
      The Native Customary Marriages (Maintenance) Ordinance 2003 passed by
      the State Assembly Friday empowers first class Magistrate's Court to
      order maintenance payments for wives and children of parties in native
      customary marriages that have been dissolved.
      Earlier, in debating the Bill, Dr Fatimah Abdullah (BN-Dalat)
      cautioned the government on the difficulties in enforcing the law.
      She said even Syariah Courts are facing problems in dealing with
      maintenance issues faced by Muslim families, especially with
      individuals, who are unemployed, without permanent address, no stable
      income and property.

      [Terengganu] Special fund for non-Muslims - 25 Apr 03
      Terengganu has set up a special fund to collect revenue from
      un-Islamic activities, with the money to be spent on non-Muslims.

      Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said the RM129,200 [Eur
      30.000,-] licensing fee collected from six conventional pawnshops last
      year had been channelled into the fund.

      The state would persuade the pawnshop operators to convert to Islamic
      practices when the six licences expired next year, he said when
      winding up the speech on the motion of thanks on the Royal Address at
      the state assembly yesterday.


      Inheritance course - 30 Mar 03
      A course on Islamic law of inheritance opened at College of Sharia and
      Law yesterday. The three-week course is attended by bequests section
      employees at the courts of first instance.


      [NWFP] Resolution filed in PA to make veil mandatory - 02 May 03
      A Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) MPA from Shangla has submitted a
      resolution in the Provincial Assembly, which if unanimously passed by
      the house, will make wearing of veil compulsory for every women in the

      "The Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal government wants to implement the Islamic
      laws or shariat in the province, and wearing a veil should be made
      compulsory for every girl above 12 years of age when she goes out of
      her house," mover of the resolution, Pir Muhammad Khan told Dawn .

      According Section 135(2) proviso of the Procedure and Conduct of
      Provincial Assembly, "If a resolution is unanimously adopted, it shall
      be binding on the Provincial Cabinet to implement the same".
      The opposition a few days ago also resisted an Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal
      resolution describing the pant and shirt as un-Islamic dress and
      criticized the MMA for "making a non-issue an issue in the house".


      Philippine rebels continue push for Islamic state - 01 May 03
      A leader of the largest Muslim separatist group in the Philippines has
      rejected an appeal by Malaysia appeal to drop demands for a separate
      Islamic state, and settle for limited self-rule instead. The vice
      chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Ghazali Jaafar, has
      told the AFP news agency that autonomy is not the answer.


      Liberal Islamic Voice Speaks Out Loud - 29 Apr 03
      Out of a tiny room in a communal apartment in central Moscow,
      Mangushev, 48, leads a small following of Russian Muslims who are
      deeply dissatisfied with the official Muslim clergy. The group is
      seeking to reform sharia -- Islamic law -- in order to reconcile Islam
      with the pluralist democracy Russia is becoming.

      "Unlike the Koran, sharia is man-made law," Mangushev said earlier
      this month in an interview in a Moscow cafe. "It was created by
      wonderful lawyers 14 centuries ago and was very good for its time. But
      not today. Its aspects dealing with the constitutional order,
      international relations, human rights and criminal law need to be
      Mangushev's view is based in part on the book "Toward an Islamic
      Reformation," [http://islamlib.com/BUKU/islamicreformation1.html%5d by
      Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im, a U.S. law professor. An-Na'im claims that
      the new -- and true -- Muslim society should be based on the tolerant
      ayats, or verses from the Koran, proclaimed by Mohammed in Mecca,
      rather than more militant ones later proclaimed by him in Medina.

      With this outlook, parts of sharia dealing with women's rights, the
      rights of non-Muslims and the use of force in international relations
      should be restructured, while slavery and corporal punishment should
      be abolished.
      Mangushev's approach has certainly won him detractors. "His knowledge
      is zero," said Farid Asadullin, aide to Ravil Gainutdin, head of the
      Council of Russian Muftis. "We told him, 'You first go at least
      through a madrassa course, and then someone will take you seriously.'
      It is a peculiar aspect of Mangushev's ideology that he steadfastly
      refuses to study in an Islamic institution, believing that only people
      from outside the system can reform the religion. He doesn't read
      Arabic, relying on his students to translate for him.


      Saudi Arabia Awakes to the Perils of Inbreeding - 01 May 03
      Across the Arab world today an average of 45 percent of married
      couples are related, according to Dr. Nadia Sakati, a pediatrician and
      senior consultant for the genetics research center at King Faisal
      Specialist Hospital in Riyadh.

      In some parts of Saudi Arabia, particularly in the south, where Mrs.
      Hefthi was raised, the rate of marriage among blood relatives ranges
      from 55 to 70 percent, among the highest rates in the world, according
      to the Saudi government.

      Widespread inbreeding in Saudi Arabia has produced several genetic
      disorders, Saudi public health officials said, including the blood
      diseases of thalassemia, a potentially fatal hemoglobin deficiency,
      and sickle cell anemia. Spinal muscular atrophy and diabetes are also
      common, especially in the regions with the longest traditions of
      marriage between relatives. Dr. Sakati said she had also found links
      between inbreeding and deafness and muteness.
      Now, for the first time, the government, after starting a nationwide
      educational campaign to inform related couples who intend to marry of
      the risk of genetic disease, is planning to require mandatory blood
      tests before marriage and premarital counseling.
      Today, when most unions are still arranged by parents, marrying into
      wealth and influence often means marrying a relative. Social lives are
      so restricted that it is virtually impossible for men and women to
      meet one another outside the umbrella of an extended family.
      Courtships without parental supervision are rare.
      Not all marriages between close relatives produce children with
      genetic disorders. In fact, most do not. But testing could identify
      couples who test positive for serious diseases. Under a fatwa issued
      by the World Islamic League in 1990, Islam permits abortions up to 120
      days after conception if an unborn child tests positive for a serious


      Humane Slaughter to Yield Better Beef - 30 Apr 03
      a local animal rights group, the Uganda Society for the Protection and
      Care of Animals (USPCA), is now promoting a new system that will
      lessen the pain. Using a pistol-like device known as the captive bolt
      pistol, abattoir workers will do their work faster, in a safer way and
      produce better quality meat, while reducing the pain of the animals
      they slaughter.

      The captive bolt is used to stun the animal before its throat is slit.
      This way it will not struggle with the butchers because it will be
      unconscious. The method will also ensure good quality meat because it
      will not be bruised as often happens when an animal is struggling.
      Sheikh Juma Nsamba, Chairman of the National Slaughtering Committee of
      the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, who tested the captive bolt
      confirmed that it does not kill the cow. He concluded that the
      slaughter was halal (holy) and therefore the meat was suitable for


      Law Enforcement Community Offered Guide to Muslims - 02 May 03
      The Council on American-Islamic Relations' (CAIR) publication, "A Law
      Enforcement Official's Guide to the Muslim Community," outlines basic
      information about Islamic beliefs that are relevant to law
      enforcement. It also cover issues such as the rights of Muslim law
      enforcement officers, religiously-sensitive techniques for body
      searches, proper etiquette for entering Muslim homes, and advice on
      outreach to the Islamic community.

      Readers of Right-Wing Site Threaten Muslims - 29 Apr 03
      The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today reported that
      it has received numerous hate-filled and threatening messages from the
      readers of a right-wing Islamophobic Web site [Worldnetdaily.com]. The
      Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group is working
      with the Department of Justice to investigate those messages that
      contained threats.
      CAIR officials say the hate-filled e-mails were prompted by a number
      of Worldnetdaily.com articles demonizing Muslims and by recent false
      charges made against CAIR by the site's editor, Joseph Farah.
      Farah falsely claimed CAIR never condemned suicide bombings, called
      the conviction of the first World Trade Center bombings a "travesty of
      justice," termed the conviction of Omar Abdel Rahman a "hate crime,"
      and that CAIR's board chairman said the Quran "should be the highest
      authority in America."

      First American Muslim Television Channel - 30 Apr 03
      New York-based Bridges Network, Inc., announced today that it will
      launch Bridges TV, the first ever nationwide English-language Muslim
      television channel in North America. The expected launch date is
      summer 2004, pending how quickly the network can gather the 10,000
      paying members necessary to demonstrate public support.


      [Dubai] Yusuf Islam takes on issues facing Islamic educators

      Prominent school principals from the UAE and Qatar and members of the
      International Board of Educational Research & Resources (IBERR) met
      yesterday at the Knowledge Village to discuss new challenges facing
      educators and development of a standard International Islamic Schools'
      curriculum and resources based on Islamic principles and values for
      steadily increasing the number of Islamic schools being established
      here and abroad.
      At the meeting, the principals talked about the challenges they have
      been facing after September 11 and identified curricular needs and
      mechanisms through which they can share best practices and cooperate
      to realise the goal of producing balanced and dedicated Muslims who
      will understand the roots of Islamic thought and its global relevance
      to have an impact on the modern world.
      IBERR, through its global network of several hundred schools in USA,
      UK, South Africa, Canada, Australia and other countries, is involved
      in several research initiatives. Its plans include helping schools
      cope with the academic and cultural demands of parents particularly in
      the growing marketplace of educational choice offered in the UAE.


      Yemeni elections strengthen Saleh's rule - 29 Apr 03
      Yemen has advanced an additional step towards enhancing its democracy
      through the legislative elections which took place on Sunday with the
      participation of all Yemeni parties.
      the real concentration was on the competition between the ruling party
      of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and "the Yemeni coalition for reform"
      of Islamic inclination, which accused its opponents of being the
      "Taliban" of Yemen and that it paid large sums assets for its election


      [Pakistan] NBP to open stand-alone Islamic banking branches
      .. - 22 Apr 03
      The National bank of Pakistan (NBP), which has a customer base of over
      nine million, said in its annual report for 2002 that it was planning
      to open stand-alone Islamic Banking branches.

      [Hedge Funds] Are Islamic alternative investments now a reality?

      Sukuk - a viable alternative to bonds - 28 Apr 03

      [Bahrain] BIB provides Murabaha facility to First Islamic Investment
      .. - 02 May 03
      Bahrain Islamic Bank (BIB) has announced that it has agreed to provide
      a revolving Murabaha Facility to First Islamic Investment Bank.
      The Murabaha facility will involve the purchase and sale of assets
      arranged by First Islamic. The term of the facility is two years.
      The Securities House of Kuwait is to act as lead investor in the
      issuance of a USD75m Islamic sukuk for the First Islamic Investment
      Bank and invest USD30m. A statement said the sukuk would allow
      Bahrain's First Islamic to expand in Europe and strengthen its balance
      sheet. The issue will close on April 30 and the bank expects a
      significant oversubscription.

      [Thailand] Islamic Bank In Thailand To Be Inaugurated In June - 27
      The Islamic Bank of Thailand will be officially opened on June 1,
      according to a report of the Thai News Agency Saturday.
      [Interior minister] Wan Noor said that the Islamic Bank of Thailand
      would be initially operated with a capital of 500 million baht (11.90
      million US dollars) from the Ministry of Finance, the Government
      Savings Bank (GSB), and the government's pension fund, half of its
      planned initial capital of 1.0 billion baht (23 million US dollars).

      The private sector, as well as the Islamic Bank of Brunei and an
      investment fund from Bahrain have also expressed their interest in
      jointly investing in the Islamic Bank of Thailand, according to the
      Interior Minister.

      [Malaysia] MNRB's takaful venture to operate by July - 01 May 03
      Takaful Ikhlas Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysian
      National Reinsurance Bhd (MNRB), is expected to operate Islamic
      insurance by July this year. Its chairman, Mohammad Abdullah, said
      that MNRB was making the necessary arrangements to start Takaful
      Ikhlas by the middle of this year, with a paid-up capital of RM51
      million. "It will be a separate company, concentrating on life and
      general insurance," he told a press conference
      Currently, three main players of the takaful insurance, Takaful
      Malaysia Bhd, Syarikat Takaful Malaysia Bhd and Maybank Takaful Bhd,
      have penetrated five percent of the industry.

      Asked on the rationale of venturing into the takaful business, Anuar
      said that the takaful insurance, which operates under the Syariah law,
      has the element of profit sharing, which is not available under other
      insurance business.

      [Malaysia] Hong Leong to bank on Islamic ops - 02 May 03
      Hong Leong Bank Bhd expects its Islamic banking operations to chalk up
      a higher contribution to the group's total earnings for the year
      ending June 30, 2003, in view of the rising demand for its
      syariah-based products.

      Its general manager (Islamic banking division) Ismail Aminuddin said
      Islamic banking currently accounted for more than 11% of Hong Leong
      Bank group's total pre-tax profit. He did not elaborate on the quantum
      of increase expected.

      "As stipulated in the Financial Sector Master Plan, Islamic
      market share (compared with the total banking operations in the
      country) is expected to increase to 20% by 2010. Based on this, we
      also expect the bank to ride on the growing Islamic market for its
      The bank's total Islamic assets grew from RM 2.5bil [EUR 586 mill] (as
      at June 30, 2001) to RM 3.5bil [EUR 820 mill.] as at June 30, 2002.
      Loans, advances and financing likewise increased from RM1.1bil (2001)
      to RM1.7bil in 2002.
      The bank, which started its Islamic banking operations in 1994, to
      date has 13 syariah-based products. These include deposit products
      such as al-wadiah (savings and current account), mudharabah (savings
      and general investment account) and financing products such as al-bai
      bithaman ajil (deferred payment sale) and Islamic higher purchase
      (under the syariah concept of al-ijarah thuma al-bai).
      Currently more than 60% of the bank's depositors for its Islamic
      banking operations are non-Muslims and Ismail expects the number to
      increase in the near future.

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